The article below contains spoilers for "It's Back," the March 3rd, 2013 episode of "Girls."
Season two of "Girls" has been markedly uneven -- the swings in quality and the recently trilogy of episodes centered around characters traveling outside the show's normal universe (to Staten Island, to a hot doctor's brownstone, to upstate New York) suggest a series struggling to figure out what direction to take. Last night's installment, "It's Back," directed by the reliable Jesse Peretz and written by Lena Dunham, Steve Rubinshteyn and Deborah Schoeneman, settled into more familiar territory while coming across as similarly scattershot in terms of the storylines it encompassed. The title could easily be referring to the return of "Girls" to the day-to-day of its characters, though it more directly cites Hannah's (Dunham) obsessive-compulsive disorder flare-up.
I can't remember if Hannah's mentioned a history with OCD before (it seems like the kind of thing she'd toss off in the middle of a rambling monologue, and that would be easy to dismiss as more of her character's usual self-dramatization), but the disorder is one that Dunham talked about struggling with in last month's Rolling Stone cover story. Hannah's particular manifestation of OCD draws from Dunham's experiences with it, and the depiction feels genuine even if its appearance within the series seems out of the blue. In typical Hannah fashion, her response to the OCD is to deny and minimize it even as it sends her fleeing from that Judy Collins performance, right up to the point when someone dare describe it as "classical," at which point she furiously elaborates on the details of how awful (and hopefully exceptional) it was.
Adam, on the other hand, seems to be moving on, getting railroaded into a date with the daughter of a woman (a welcome Carol Kane) at his Alcoholics Anonymous meeting that turns out to be great. His odd intensity charms not just his fellow AA member (who deems him "cuter than a dimple on a bug's ass") but the girl as well -- played by Shiri Appleby, she's pretty and easygoing, but mainly seems primed to provide a problem for Hannah when our heroine inevitably decides she wants Adam back after all. Marnie's (Allison Williams) ex Charlie (Christopher Abbott) has also moved on, and to her distress has become a successful dot-commer, having sold Forbid, an app he created (because of her) that prevents you from calling people you've decided are bad for you. The "Girls" portrayal of a tech office, with everyone running off to do a lip dub with the company next door, is very amusing, but it too is there mainly for reasons of plot mechanics and leads Marnie to have her realization about the unfairness of the world with Ray (Alex Karpovsky).
Jessa (Jemima Kirke), who left Hannah at her father's house with only a note in the last episode, is still mysteriously vanished in this one, but even so it barely has time for a rushed Shoshanna plot in which, abandoned by Ray because he doesn't want to attend a college party, she ends up hooking up with an attractive doorman. It didn't seem very in character for a girl who not that long ago declared her love for the guy who took her virginity, but maybe sharing a tiny apartment with two freeloaders can lead you to act out in outrageous ways. If getting some "Shoshanna time" means random make-outs with strangers in hallways, it's hard to fault her for needing an outlet outside of her crowded house, especially given how her party-throwing friend has no interest in actually listening to her. We've seen Jessa's disastrous parent, Hannah's long-suffering ones and Marnie's oversharing mom, but never Shoshanna's family, and at the moment, she seems most in need of support.